Fletch (1985)


“I like men. I like to be manhandled. I like you.”

The Scoop: 1985 PG, directed by Michael Ritchie and starring Chevy Chase, Joe Don Baker, and Dana Wheeler-Nicholson

Tagline: Meet the only guy who changes his identity more often than his underwear.

Summary Capsule: Undercover journalist fights crime and correction with all manner of disguises


Justin’s rating: Ah, the glory days of Chase

Justin’s review: Gather ’round, boys and girls for a mite history lesson. You see, there was a time when the man known as Chevy Chase was not just a washed up, two-bit cameo as he is today. In the heyday of the eighties, this SNL vet’s deadpan wit and eye gestures were much reveled. Witness the four National Lampoon Vacation movies, Funny Farm, or the tenth world wonder known as Fletch.

Irwin “Fletch” Fletch (as seen in the movie Fletch) is part journalist, part private eye, part Lakers fan, and part every other occupation known to man. While investigating a boom of drug dealing on the beach, Fletch stumbles upon a much bigger conspiracy. Armed only with lightning-fast quips and a perchant for disguises, he penetrates the seedy underworld to the tune of some funky synthesizers. Most of the fun of this film is seeing Chevy in some clever getups (from a smooth-talking surgeon to a roller skating hippie to an actual Laker), adapting quickly as the situation warrants.

A quick side trip down memory lane: before rewatching this the other day, I had not seen Fletch (or its sequel) for over a decade. I remember this movie most from my childhood for the music, strangely enough. Fletch has this riff that plays again and again and again (sometimes slower, sometimes faster, sometimes louder) until it takes permanant residence in about 8% of your brain. Ah, the memories.

Basically, this movie boils down to a lot of rather unique situations where you get to watch Chevy being a sarcastic clown while antagonizing about everyone. No smart comedy here, but plenty funny, sure enough! Yee-haw! See, I shouldn’t write this while I’m watching Fletch Lives; the southern taste is rubbing off on me. I’ll make it pretty easy for you though: it’s a great comedy and you should force small children to watch it. Unless you despise Chevy and all he stands for. And unless you cannot stand synthesizer music.

Kyle’s rating: Have you heard the news? Fletch is the man!

Kyle’s review: I don’t know when I first saw the film Fletch. I do know that I’ve seen it literally hundreds of times since. I may not have ever met Chevy Chase, but I regard him in his Fletch persona as one of my personal mentors. Sure he was great in Caddyshack and in most of the Vacation films. But there he was just SNL-alum Chevy Chase playing a fun character. Here, he is Fletch, wise-ass columnist for a Los Angeles paper who writes under the name Jane Doe and has a penchant for using disguises and quick wit to build his stories. And you wouldn’t want him any other way.

I’m not sure how you can’t enjoy Fletch, unless you don’t particularly like Chase. It’s sarcastic, it’s believable, and it actually has an interesting and complex mystery at its core. Let’s face it: California is the greatest place on Earth. Now that I’ve moved here, I’m one LA Times job away from being Fletch. So why don’t you all come out and have some fun? You can even stay in my house! But I warn you: don’t expect to have control of the television, because in my house we watch what I want to watch. And what I want to watch is Fletch! Woo hoo!

"Always look on the bright side of life." *whistles*
“Always look on the bright side of life.” *whistles*


  • Fletch writes under the pseudonym of “Jane Doe”
  • Fletch owes $918 per month for alimony
  • Fletch’s height as a Laker is 6’5″, with the afro 6’9″
  • Fred Dorfman is the name of Flounder’s brother in Animal House, the movie in which Tim Matheson (Alan Stanwyk) played the role that Chevy Chase was originally picked to play: Otter
  • This movie was based on the Fletch novels by Gregory McDonald. The Fletch books include:
      • Fletch
      • Confess, Fletch
      • Fletch’s Fortune
      • Fletch and the Widow Bradley
      • Carioca Fletch
      • Fletch’s Moxie
      • Fletch and the Man Who
      • Fletch Won
      Fletch, Too

Groovy Quotes:

Fletch: Don’t Point… Speak!

[Fletch is being frisked by a cop, as another holds him at gunpoint]
Cop: Got a gun, creep?!
Fletch: Shamu’s got one, borrow his.

Fletch: You fellas wanna read me my rights?
Cop: You have the right to remain silent.
Fletch: Ok.
Cop: You have the right to have your face kicked in by me.
Fletch: Oh, that’s nice.
Cop: You have the right to have your balls stomped by him.
[second cop blows Fletch a kiss]
Fletch: I’ll waive my rights.

Receptionist: Can I help you Dr.–?
Fletch: Oh it’s me, Dr. Rosenpenis. I’m just here to check out Alan Stanwyk’s file.
Receptionist: Dr. who?
Fletch: Dr. Rosenrosen, I’m here to get into the records room.
Receptionist: What was that name again?
Fletch: It’s Dr. Rosen, I want to check the records room.
Receptionist: Dr. who?
Fletch: Dr. Rosen! Where’s the records room?

Madeline: I’m sorry, who are you again?
Fletch: I’m Frieda’s boss.
Madeline: Who’s Frieda?
Fletch: My secretary.

Chief Karlin: What’s your name?
Fletch: Fletch.
Chief Karlin: What’s your full name?
Fletch: Fletch F. Fletch.
Chief Karlin: What do you do for a living, Mr. Fletch?
Fletch: I’m a shepherd.
Chief Karlin: Why are you doing this, Mr. Fletch?
Fletch: I like men. I like to be manhandled. I like you.

Chief Karlan {to the arresting officers}: Gentleman, could you excuse us for a moment?
Fletch: Yeah, why don’t you guys go down to the gym and pump each other?

[Fletch sees a photo of Karlan with Tommy Lasorda]
Fletch: Hey, you and Tommy Lasorda!
Karlan: Yeah.
Fletch: I hate Tommy Lasorda! {punches glass out of picture frame.}

Fletch: I would’ve been here sooner, but one of those manure-spreaders jack-knifed on the Santa Anna. You should see my shoes.
[Bud makes a disgusted face]
Fletch: Whoo!

Dr. Dolan: Arnold Babar! Wasn’t there a series of children’s books about an elephant named Babar?
Fletch: Oh, I wouldn’t know, I don’t have any.
Dr. Dolan: No children?
Fletch: No, elephant books.

Kid: Are you a cop?
Fletch: As far as you know. Why? Did you steal this car?
Kid: I sure did.
Fletch: Well, I’m not even sure that’s a crime anymore. There’ve been a lot of changes in the law.

Frank: Yes Frank, the story’s all done. That’s an answer.
Fletch: And a damn fine answer, if I do say so my damn self.

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